Antoine Leiris lost his wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris, when she was gunned down at the Bataclan concert hall in Friday night’s Paris attacks.
In response, on Monday, Mr Leiris penned a powerful Facebook post to ISIS entitled “You Will Not Have My Hatred”.
In the defiant post, Mr Leiris tells the terrorist organisation that although they have taken the love of his life, he will not give in to hatred and turn on his common man. He refuses to be afraid or angry like ISIS want.
Writing on his Facebook wall Mr Leiris said:
Friday night, you took an exceptional life — the love of my life, the mother of my son — but you will not have my hatred. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls,” he wrote. “So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.
Mr Leiris goes on to say that when he saw his wife that morning, she was “just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when [he] fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago.”
Describing the pain he feels, Mr Leiris says he’s devastated and that the terrorists have hurt him, but that they will not win.
I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.
Mr Leiris also speaks of his 17-month-old son, Melvil, who he promises the terrorists will live “a happy life free of hatred”.
[My son] will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.
Mr Leiris is of course not the only one affected by the atrocities committed by ISIS. At least 132 innocent lives were taken that evening, but his message of moving forward and not responding with hatred is an powerful one.